Monday, 27 April 2015

Stuck-in-a-Book... has moved!

I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but... Stuck-in-a-Book is moving! I/it can now be found at

I can't tell you how nervous this is making me feel, after all these years. More info over there (here is my first post in my new home), but I do hope you'll keep reading!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Song for a Sunday

While roaming DC, I was mostly listening to Brandi Carlile on my iPod. I bought one of her albums about 8 years ago, and finally got around to listening to some more. Here are a couple of her songs, to show her both a bit rocky and more contemplative...

Thursday, 23 April 2015

London War Notes: now a Persephone!

Back in 2013, when I listed the best books I'd read that year, I had not a moment's doubt in putting London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes at the top of the list. I wrote:
It changed the way I think about the day-by-day events of the second world war, and (like Guard Your Daughters at the top of 2012's list) I think it is scandalous that it's out of print. Well, Guard Your Daughters is coming back into print in 2014, so fingers crossed for London War Notes following suit...
Well, sadly Guard Your Daughters never made it into print, but the crossed fingers for London War Notes worked a treat. Now you can get your own copy - in a beautiful Persephone edition, no less! More info from their site, here.

If this doesn't quite match my excitement when Miss Hargreaves came back into print, it's not a million miles away - London War Notes is such a valuable resource and a wonderful book that I do urge you to rush out and get a copy. Or, let's face it, order it online from the comfort of your own bed.

And do pop back and let me know what you think of it! If you've reviewed it, put a link in the comments, as I'd love to read people's responses.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Me... on The Readers podcast!

Thanks for the comments on yesterday's pic of my haul - do keep 'em coming!

I was going to save this for a mention in another post, but I couldn't wait. It's no secret that I have long wanted to appear on an episode of The Readers (and actually had that privilege in its very early days, where I talked about my favourite books). I've not been subtle about it.

Well, this time I got to be a guest for the whole episode! I stayed a night with Thomas while in DC, and we recorded an episode in his beautiful library (with Simon replacing Simon for an ep, confusingly).

I was pretty nervous and stunned to start with, but relaxed after a bit and had a really great time discussing bookish things with Thomas - specifically (1) our ideal bookish holidays, and (2) how many chances you give an author before giving up on them. And all sorts of tangents.

If you don't already subscribe to The Readers through iTunes or similar, you should - it's always fab - but you can download the episode by searching there, or you can listen online here.

Thomas and Simon do it every fortnight, so do check it out. I had such a blast doing it, and it goes without saying that I'd always be thrilled to be invited back, if I haven't disgraced myself. And it has rather given me a taste for podcasting... something I will mull over.

Anyway - go and have a listen, or download it and listen while walking/driving/etc. and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The books I bought in the US of A

I'm back! Thank you for your lovely comments on my previous post - and for those of you who emailed/Facebooked/tweeted because of Blogger being so hopeless with comments. Any sort of communication is always a delight :)

I had such a wonderful time in Washington DC (and bits of Virginia and Maryland too). I'll be writing more about the trip soon, including meeting up with a whole heap of bloggers, but I'll start with what you really want to know: the books I bought.

Well, dear readers, I bought a heck of a lot. 34, I think. And, since I'd brought 7 books with me, that meant carrying more than 40 to the airport - and a substantial percentage were crammed in my hand luggage. It was quite the feat. And... here they are, with a little bit about why I bought them. As always, do comment (or email/tweet etc.!) if you have read any, want to know more about any, etc. etc.

The World in Falseface - George Jean Nathan
I was partly drawn to the prettiness and neat size of this book, but (less shallowly), it's about the theatre, and I always love that.

The Small Room - May Sarton
Big-time May Sarton fan Thomas (from My Porch) wasn't even with me when I picked this up - but it seemed like it could be a fun one.

Last Leaves - Stephen Leacock
A Leacock I didn't own, to join the piles of Leacock books I've yet to read... In fact, I don't think I've read any for about ten years, so must get onto that.

Nabokov's Butterfly - Rick Gekoski
A book about books - specifically book dealing with 20th-century classics. Called Tolkien's Gown in the UK, I think.

The Pilgrim Hawk - Glenway Wescott
Someone recommended this... Anyway, an NYRB Classic and an intro by Michael Cunningham sold me on it.

Alien Hearts - Guy de Maupassant
And another beautiful NYRB by an author I've been intending to read.

Portrait of an English Nobleman - E.F. Benson
Janet - E.F. Benson
Two in a series EFB wrote about different periods in London, with beautiful dustjackets.

The Shelf - Phyllis Rose
Non-fiction, about an experiment where Phyllis Rose decided to read everything on the LEQ-LES shelf of the New York library. I read this one while in DC, and it's BRILLIANT. More soon.

Soap Behind the Ears 
Nuts in May
The Ape in Me 
Dithers and Jitters 
Family Circle - Cornelia Otis Skinner
I really loved Popcorn by Cornelia Otis Skinner (and I'm going to write about it soon) but she's quite tricky to track down in the UK. So I had a parcel of Skinner books delivered to my friend's address, to take away with me...

Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Naked - David Sedaris
Sedaris is another one who is readily available in the US, and a little less so here.

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House - Eric Hodgins
This one went on my Amazon wishlist ages ago, and I can't remember why. But this edition is a beauty, and the two things combined made it irresistible.

Classics for Pleasure - Michael Dirda
Book about books = sold.

Why I Read - Wendy Lesser
...and another.

Benefits Forgot - G.E. Stern
A really beautiful copy of one of Stern's memoirs - which are piling up on my shelves now.

Bookends - Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern
I enjoyed their book about friendship and book dealing, and, well - this one seems to be about the same thing.

The Ironing Board - Christopher Morley
Morley is everywhere in the US, and I nabbed this fun-looking collection.

By Nightfall - Michael Cunningham
On the plane, I read the Cunningham novel I bought last time I was in the US (A Home at the End of the World) so I thought I should replace it with another!

Mr Whittle and the Morning Star - Robert Nathan
The Enchanted Voyage - Robert Nathan
And last time I bought, read, and really enjoyed Robert Nathan's Portrait of Jennie - so, this trip, I took the opportunity to buy a couple more.

Absence of Mind - Marilynne Robinson
I've never really tried any of Robinson's non-fiction works (and am rather daunted by them). This one is on theology and science, and maybe one day I'll be brave enough to give it a go.

Family Man - Calvin Trillin
Remembering Denny - Calvin Trillin
Trillin is another author to be found everywhere in the US, and these two caught my attention - particularly the intriguing Remembering Denny, about a high school star who came to nothing.

Literary Feuds - Anthony Arthur
I can't lie, I love a literary feud...

Letters from the Editor - Harold Ross
I also love a collection of letters, and this one from the man who set up the New Yorker promises to be the best of the literary 1920s.

The Year of Reading Proust - Phyllis Rose
Another book by Rose that I bought and read while in America. It's even made me think about give old Marcel a try...

The Faithful Servants - Margery Sharp
Despite intending to only buy books that were hard to find in the UK, I couldn't leave this lovely Sharp behind.

Two-Part Invention - Madeleine L'Engle
This is another one that was on my Amazon wishlist for ages and I don't remember how it got there - but now it's all mine!

More on the bookshops, people, and activities soon - but, for now, let me know your thoughts on my purchases!

Friday, 10 April 2015

8 years of blogging!

Yep, dear blog readers, today is 8 years since I started blogging at Stuck-in-a-Book. Every year it comes around more quickly, and I seem to be running through the numbers at a rate of knots.

Thanks so much to all the lovely people who read this, particularly those who have been reading for many years. I really do appreciate your comments, emails, links, and friendship - and, of course, your blogs (for those of you who blog).

As you read this, I am off on a 'plane to America, visiting my friend in Washington DC. While there I am planning on meeting up with FIVE bloggers, three of whom I haven't met before. I'm not back til the 20 April, so you may hear their reports before you hear mine - and I am intending on returning to Blighty with bagfuls of books, of course.

See you in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

NYRB Classics: recommendations?

Loving Alfred and Guinevere and Skylark makes me think... are there little-known NYRB Classics that you would especially recommend?

I find that their list is extremely varied, and there are lots that I probably wouldn't bother picking up - but I am besotted with many of their authors, including Tove Jansson, Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth Taylor, Ivy Compton-Burnett, and Rose Macaulay. And then things like those two novels aforementioned that I knew nothing about before being seduced by those NYRB covers. OH, and the extraordinary The Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton.

(I have stolen Thomas's image of NYRBs again, because I love it so much. Sorry, Thomas. And thanks.)

So please, dear NYRB fans, let us know your recommendations in the comments, please!